Olympic Penta Hotel

We stayed at the Olympic Penta Hotel. It was built for the Winter Olympics held in Moscow when Jimmy Carter was president and refused to let our teams participate. The dome shaped building was a movie theatre they told us. We didnít check it out. There was a fancy restaurant and a gym below the first floor. We didnít go to them either. We did check the menu, but it was too fancy for our tastes.

Hotel Room Bath The rooms were very nice. The government pays for separate rooms for employees now. Back in the 60ís we had to room together.

The air between the curtains and the window glass was as cold as a refrigerator at night, but the curtains kept the cool air from the room. The room had a stocked refrigerator, but we were told that the items in it would be very expensive.

The seventh floor was reserved for NASA with some overflow to the eighth floor. There was no smoking on the floor, of course. There was a lobby in the middle of the floor and a small office with computers, fax machines, and phones.

There was a nice bath with tub and shower. The towel rack was heated; probably with warm water. I wasn't sure about gratuities for the maid, so I left one dollar the first day, then two the second. On the third day I left the equivalent of three dollars in rubles, but she didnít take that. Then I left seven dollars the fourth day, and so on through the tenth. The maid had a really big smile when she came through the lobby on the last day and saw me waiting to leave. I realize now that that total would be a very miserly tip in the U.S. I hope she felt like it was a lot.

Storage Yard and Park

This storage yard was at the end of the hotel and the park was across the street from the yard and the apartment building. We saw people walking their dogs in the snow in the park. Vehicles and pedestrians entered the yard area, but we never found out what was there.

Day/Night Street Scene

Here are night and day views of the street that runs in front of the apartment. The park in the previous photo is across the street. Note that the sign by the street had been changed during the time between these photos, but that the truck had apparently not been moved.

Apartment Building This is the end view of a very long apartment building behind the hotel. Each apartment has a balcony and some of the residents had enclosed their balconies to provide some additional weatherproofed floor space. Some seemed to be very nicely made of fine wood or aluminum framed glass and others looked like something the Beverly Hillbillies would have put together. (Not on this building, but on other apartments around town.) Some balconies were totally filled with junk such as I have on the back porch of my garage. A friend who is living in Moscow for an extended period of time said that his apartment association was trying to get a uniform style and quality of enclosure for all the apartments in their building.

Olympic Arena The route from the hotel to the subway station was past this building and the store. We had to walk down from the hotel then back up onto this elevated street and parking area, then back down to the level where the McDonaldís is. This was another of the Olympic sports venues.

Car Parking This is the area behind the apartment. A careful examination of the photo will reveal car storage boxes that fit into a regular parking space. The front of the box pivots over the back half sort of like a clamshell. It provides a simple way to protect cars from the weather.

Apartment Building I think that there was or had been an Olympic sport facility in the upper part of this building near the hotel. There was a luxury department store in the basement and a small grocery store. We had to check our cameras, coats, and bulky items at the entrance to the grocery store and personnel were there to see that we did. The young man checking the items offered to photograph us or be photographed by us, but a severe glance from a supervisor indicated that that was not allowed. The store had scanners at the checkout lines and CRT displays of the purchases and prices. The checkers seemed to be a little grumpy to me as we struggled to work out the exchange rate. It was roughly 6000 rubbles to the dollar. Quickly - how much is a 200,000-ruble purchase in dollars? I found a carton of 'Skipper' orange juice there.

PAGE ONE - Flight to Moscow by charter jet. Visit to the famous open-air market. Red Square and St. Basil in the snow. Kremlin tour. The new mall. Currency exchange, a 500 ruble note, and a glass crystal egg.
PAGE TWO The week a Zvezda (Star) - Zvezda designs, tests, and manufactures space suits, life support systems, and aircraft ejection seats. We went to their plant on the outskirts of Moscow, toured their museum, and observed the manned vacuum chamber test. We made a night visit to Red Square and another subway trip to the Starlight Diner.
Olympic Penta Hotel - Photos of the hotel and my room and bath. Views from the hotel of a park, an apartment building, street view by day and night, and some of the other Olympic buildings in the area.
ZVEZDA SPACE MUSEUM - Several photos of the displays with commentary. Zvezda built the capsule and life support system for the first dogs in space. There was a big display about that. All the early space suits were diplayed. The spacecraft and airlock from which the world's fist EVA was made was on display.
Space Suit Test at Zvezda - The whole purpose for the trip was to observe an actual manned test of the refurbished Orlan spacesuit that was brought back from the Mir by the Shuttle. These photos show the vacuum chamber (vac-camera), the control consoles, the Orlan suit suspended in the chamber, and Gennady, the expert suit engineer and test subject.
Jemma Mitchell's MOSCOW PHOTOS - Moscow in summer. Red Square, St. Basil, GUM, Kremlin, Lennin's Tomb, Views of the Kremlin from across the Moscow River.
Cycling Moscow to St. Petersburg - This is a really fun travel article. Some great photos around Moscow and out in rural areas. Photos of those who participated in the trip organized by Russian families and promoted on the web. The photos and story get better page after page. Seven great pages in all.
Another MOSCOW Journal - Journal and photos of a man who visited three months after my visit. There are photos of many buildings and some fine artwork from the subway. There is a great photo of one of the Patriotic Sculptures in the subway. It depicts a sitting woman with a rifle. I think I saw it during my subway travels. Part 2 has some copies of paintings from the nineteenth century and photos from the subways.
Marina's Moscow - A young woman of Moscow displays travel photos and interesting information about Moscow.


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Re-posted: 1/6/03